Our emotional intelligence determines our potential for learning practical skills that are based on its five elements: self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation, empathy, and adeptness in relationships. Dan Goleman
Change is not easy and often can be uncomfortable, yet change is an essential ingredient to an organization meeting its mission. Strong leaders motivate their team members by understanding the importance of emotional intelligence.
Often considered the Father of Emotional Intelligence, Dan Goleman is the author of Emotional Intelligence, named one of the 25 Most Influential Business Management Books, by TIME Magazine. His works have gone on to help define strong leadership skills and styles. His book Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence written in collaboration with Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, defined six Emotional Leadership Styles.
In order to implement change, it is important to understand the six leadership styles and the degree of impact they can have on an organization.
The Visionary Leader This leader moves people forward with a new direction toward a shared goal. By sharing knowledge about the destination but not micromanaging the process to get there, the visionary leader empowers others to utilize individual innovation, experimentation, and grants permission to take calculated risks.
The Coaching Leader This leader encourages individuals to identify strengths and weaknesses and connects those traits and aspirations with the goals of the organization. The coaching leader positively impacts the climate and helps individuals build skill sets through one-on-one attention.
The Affiliative Leader This leader takes a collaborative approach toward connecting people and engaging their emotional needs in a team setting. The affiliative leader creates a positive climate by alleviating stressful situations and healing differences between colleagues. In this scenario, poor performance by an individual can be masked by group effort.
The Democratic Leader This leader takes a consensus-building approach valuing participation, commitment, and input from all members of the team. This style relies on the group’s commitment to the goals and input on various facets of the business. While this approach draws on a variety of skill sets, it can create a crisis when urgent business demands a quick decisive response.
The Pacesetting Leader This leader is most effective with a motivated competent team but it should be used sparingly and in combination with other styles. The pacesetter builds challenges and goals and sets high standards with very little input and guidance. The objective is to be better, faster, and more efficient. When overused or used poorly, this leadership style can create a poisonous environment that can undercut morale and set individuals up for failure.
The Commanding Leader This leader thrives in crisis as power and dominance are demonstrated and full compliance is expected. It creates a very rigid hierarchy much like that of a military commander issuing orders. The commanding leader maintains a singular vision and path to success and has no qualms about requiring all to conform to one unified ideal. This style is most often used, yet carries the least effect. Goleman argues it is only effective in a crisis when urgent change is needed.
Many of these leadership styles are most successful when utilized in tandem with one another. The most effective leaders pull from this selection of styles to fit the moment versus trying to fit each moment into a single style. Through proper utilization of each of these styles, a leader can move their team effectively through change.